UAE opens temple of three religions

A new interfaith temple, or Abraham Family House, will be opened on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi on March 1, 2023. The site includes a mosque, a synagogue and a Christian church. Entrance will be free, but reservations are required in advance.

The new complex will be a symbol of tolerance and patience, as well as mutual respect and peaceful coexistence. According to Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Tolerance, finding common ground is the only strategy that will help eliminate conflicts based on cultural and religious differences.

It is on this basis that the Emirates is forging alliances with countries around the world, including the establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel through the Abrahamic Accords in September 2020. The two countries have strengthened partnerships in areas ranging from the economy and trade to security and tourism.

The temple of three religions is named after the prophet Abraham, revered in Islam, Judaism and Christianity. The grounds include three temples, a garden, a museum and an educational centre, which will preach the ideas of human brotherhood and solidarity, helping to build a society based on the values of mutual respect and peaceful coexistence, while preserving the unique character of each religion.

The temples are named after Dr Ahmed Al Tayeb, the great Imam of Al Azhar; Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church; and Moses Ben Maimon, the 12th century Jewish philosopher. The architectural style of the temples follows the traditions of Islam, Christianity and Judaism.

The design of the project was first presented by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, at a global meeting in New York in 2019 during the second meeting of the Supreme Committee of Human Brotherhood.

The temple is planned to become a cultural landmark in the UAE capital and a global symbol of friendship between the three religious faiths. Representatives of various religious communities from around the world were involved in the design.

The complex will offer a variety of programmes and events, organising international conferences and summits. On 4 February 2019, the Grand Imam of Al Azhara and Pope Francis signed the ‘Declaration of Human Fraternity’ during a historic meeting in Abu Dhabi.

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